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Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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Below is a poll question from the Pew Research Center. I find the question interesting. Based on my conversations with most of my friends I am not sure I would get the same response, most of my friends with in the faith are liberals and they have a basic feeling that the

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I got this is one of my email newsletters and thought I would pass it on…

-Paul

Sometimes you need to get away, but you don’t have the time or money. Don’t despair: A mental vacation can help reduce your stress.

By Diana Rodriguez

Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

take a mental vacation

Small stressors can quickly add up to major stress and one big stressful event can send you reeling, with no idea of how to start addressing it. If you could just get away for a little stress relief, you know you would be okay. But too few of us have the time — or the money — to run off on an impromptu vacation.

Well, you don’t have to spend a dime or go anywhere other than a quiet spot nearby to take a mental vacation.

Stress Relief: Take Off on a Mental Vacation

If you don’t find a way to reduce stress, your health will pay the price, both mentally and physically. It’s not necessary to get a lengthy massage or head to a beach to relax — you can unwind every day in simple ways and still get a major benefit.

"People who are under a lot of stress have physical problems related to constantly being under stress," says Sally R. Connolly, a social worker and therapist at the Couples Clinic of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. "And if you don’t find ways [to relieve it], even in small periods of time, you can have long-term consequences." It’s crucial to add stress relief to your everyday routine, she says.

Connolly suggests learning techniques to reduce stress and trying to sneak in one or two each day. "Even if it’s five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night, just find time to do that," she says.

Stress Relief: Six Quick Mental Trips

Visualizing a stress-free place and other relaxation techniques are quick and easy ways to help your whole body calm down and give you just the boost you need to get on with your day. Connolly suggests these six ways for you to slip away on a mental vacation to reduce stress:

  1. Read a book in bed. Connolly says this is a great escape and can leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to face whatever is outside your bedroom door. Your bed is warm, cozy, comfortable, and a peaceful place for you. It feels luxurious, and getting lost in a good book is a perfect way to forget, then refocus, your own thoughts.
  2. Visualize relaxation. Steal a few quiet moments to close your eyes and think of an image that relaxes you — such as the warm sun on your skin and the sound of the ocean, a big country field sprinkled with flowers, or a trickling stream. Connolly suggests thinking back to a time when you felt peaceful and relaxed, and focus on releasing the tension from your toes to your head.
  3. Look at pictures from a happy time. Connolly recommends pulling out snapshots from a photo album of a family vacation or a fun dinner with friends. Reflect on your memories of that occasion, and what made it so enjoyable. Spend a few quiet moments reminiscing, and you’ll find yourself more relaxed.
  4. Look out a window. Distract yourself by focusing on something other than what’s stressing you. Grab a steaming cup of coffee or tea, close the door, and take a mental break. Do a little people watching, appreciate any birds within view, or enjoy some fluffy clouds rolling by. Allow yourself to daydream for a few minutes.
  5. Listen to a relaxation CD. Invest in a couple of these CDs for a short daily escape, says Connolly. You may like to hear chirping birds, rolling waves, or gentle rain — whatever your choice, closing your eyes and listening to these soothing sounds while doing some deep breathing can help you relax and de-stress.
  6. Take a walk. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress because it’s a great escape for your mind. Head out for a quiet early morning walk or lace up your sneakers on your lunch break. Walking along a trail, waterfront, or other peaceful place when possible may offer even more relaxation.

Treat yourself to a 5-, 10-, or 20-minute mental vacation each day and train your body to relax and reduce stress — you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after taking just a few luxurious moments all to yourself.

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The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
    One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education.
    He argued, ‘What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided
His best option in life was to become a teacher?’
    He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about
Teachers:
    ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.’
    To emphasize his point he said to another guest; ‘You’re a
Teacher, Bonnie..
   Be honest. What do you make?’
    Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied,
     ‘You want to know what I make?
    (She paused for a second, then began…)
    ‘Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they
Could.
    I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor.
    I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their
Parents can’t make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.
    "You want to know what I make." (She paused again and looked at
Each and every person at the table.)
    ”I make kids wonder…
    I make them question.
    I make them apologize and mean it.
    I make them have respect and take responsibility for their
Actions.
    I teach them to write and then I make them write..
    Keyboarding isn’t everything.
    I make them read, read, read.
    I make them show all their work in math.. They use their
    God-given brain,not the man-made calculator.
    I make my students from other countries learn everything they
Need to know in English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
    I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe..
    I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say the
    Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God, because we live in
The United States of America .
    I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were
Given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.’
    (Bonnie paused one last time, then continued.)
    ‘Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money
Isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because
They are ignorant… You want to know what I make?
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
What do you make Mr. CEO?’
His jaw dropped, he went silent.

 

Me, I am a teacher, in my daily job an din all I do. I have always practice the concept of using every moment as a teaching moment. Now please don’t get me wrong, I don’t quiz or question the youth about everything we do, I don’t spend time looking for the hidden teaching moment, but I approach all I do as a moment to teach and to learn.

I do make a difference because I choose to, If I was that Mr. CEO in the story above, I could have held my head high and stated that I to teach, but also if I was that Mr. CEO I would have never equated money with usefulness, I understand that the two do not go together.

Can you say you teach, for that sake of our children and of this nation I pray that you respond with a yes.

Paul

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Time for your self is important, each of us need to set aside a little time each day for ourselves. Now I can hear some people already says, sure maybe you have time to set aside, but me, I’m so busy that I barley have time to sleep, with work and the kids and this event and that even….

and so it goes….

Well I say bull crap to that!

No one, and I mean no one is that busy that they can not find 5, 10 or 15 minutes each day for themselves, I am sure President Obama does, and you can not tell me you have more stuff on your plate than the leader of the free world does.

I am sure he has time for his wife and kids and for himself. If he can find the time, so can we. It’s called time management, and its a skill we all need to learn. And it is one we can discipline ourselves in, if we truly try.

As proof to my point, the young man that lives with me, my nephew, he use to spend all his time after school doing nothing but homework. He would come home, sit down and start on his homework, stop for dinner than study until 10 or 11 at night, and sometimes wake up a 5am to study more. He did ok in his classes, but nothing great. I was on him for over a year to stop this madness and go out with friends, hang out and play a little , to take time for his mind to rest and time for himself.

This past semester I forced him to do so, I refused to allow him to come home a study, he had to go and do something else with his friends and than after dinner do his homework. He got his best report card to date! He has learned a lesson for life, that time for himself is invaluable. His comment to me after getting his report card was, “I guess to much studying is not to smart”.

No truer statement can be made, and you can replace the wordy studying with any other word you like:

  • I guess to much overtime is not to smart
  • I guess to much helping others is not to smart
  • I guess to much volunteering is not to smart
  • I guess to much ________ is not to smart

We all can find the time, it’s not a matter of needing more hours in the day, its a matter of using the hours we got smartly. If my 17 year old nephew can figure it our, we should be able to also.

Sit down and write out your typical day, hour by hour, see where your time is going, and discover how you can re order your day or remove from your day to gain 10, 15 or 20 minuets to give to yourself.

Paul

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Last night I had a intimate chat with my nephew, he is a 17 year old young man who originates from Cameroon Africa. He has only been in this country for a few years, and I have only known him for 1.5 years or so, well maybe closer to 2 years now, but what ever. In truth he is not my natural nephew, I knew his dad, not very well, through the church I am youth minister at. His son was in the youth group, and to make a long story short, to help him and his boy out, i let his son move in with me, so now he is my nephew. But back to that chat.

Last night at dinner he is usually very quiet, and does not offer up much information, not much more that a grunt or two. But some of that is typical teen age communication but with him it’s also a cultural thing, he was taught to be seen not heard. And that’s what he tries to do, over the last year or so I have worked very hard to get him to open up, to talk to me and other adults more freely. It’s been a hard road, but it has had it’s moments, like last night.

the topic of our conversation is of no real concern for the point of this blog, what is of concern is the importance of intimate conversation. We have gotten away from intimacy in general, our conversations are done via text messaging on our cell phones, one of the latest trends is to text your boy friend or girl friend that you are breaking up. My nephew asked a young lady out via a text message. I was not happy and told him so, to me, asking someone out is an intimate act and should be done face to face, or at least over the phone, voice to voice. The ability to text someone removes the direct contact, removes the personal touch. It makes it easer to have no investment in to the relationship. Sure there are times that texting is called for, or Instant Messaging (IMing) someone one. I IM people all the time, unless it is important, unless it calls for intimacy than it is a face to face contact.

The body often times speaks more that the voice, we can learn more for the language the body is using than the language the voice is using.  With text messages and such, all that is lost, we speak in bits and peaces, using icons to display emotions and words that haven’t even been added to any dictionary as of yet.

When I talk with my nephew I always make sure I can see him and that he is looking at me, often times he looks down or away, and misses the body language of the conversation. I try to explain the importance of looking someone in the eyes when you talk to them, but in this world of texting it seems to make no cense. I am sure he would rather just text me a reply and be done with it.

This all to often is what most teens, and now even adults would rather do. We are loosing the ability to have intimate conversations by allowing our youth to continue hiding behind there phones. As parents and care givers we have a responsibility to teach our children how to be intimate, and we do this by example, but forcing them to look at us when they talk to us, but explaining that texting does not replace face to face or voice to voice, that important things are not reduced to “OMG” (Oh my god) or other such abbreviations, and that a 🙂 does not truly equal a smile.

If we continue down this path we run the risk of living in a world of no intimacy, just a quick text and off we go. So last nights conversation was truly of no great importance except he did communicate with me, he looked at me and he smiles and responded with feeling in his voice. That is much more than a text message ever can be.

ttyl

Paul

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